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Effective Ways to Relieve Insomnia Without Prescription Medication
Guest article by Dylan Foster
Insomnia is an extremely common problem among Americans, affecting around one in four adults every year. Prescription medication can provide temporary relief. However, sleeping pills do nothing to treat the underlying physical or mental problems that cause sleep disturbances and may even worsen insomnia in the long run. If you’re looking for relief from insomnia, try some of the following natural sleep aids and healthy habits.
Upgrade Your Bed
Start by taking a good look at your mattress. Sleeping on an old mattress can cause stiffness, pain, and even trigger allergies! If you often sleep better away from home, your mattress may be robbing you of restful slumber. Before buying a new mattress, do some research to find one that suits your body type and sleep style. Mattresses are not one-size-fits-all. For example, Tuft & Needle mattresses may be too soft for people who weigh over 250 pounds, but they provide excellent support for petite and medium-sized individuals in any sleep position. If you share your bed with a partner, look for mattresses like these that can accommodate various sleep styles.
Use Technology Wisely
By delaying your body’s internal clock, electronic use close to bedtime can keep you awake long after your head hits the pillow. Try to put the phone away at least one hour before bed. If you’re having trouble limiting your screen time, try listening to music or a podcast instead of scrolling through social media or watching YouTube videos.
Believe it or not, you can even use your phone to enhance your sleep! Several apps can lull you into sleep with the help of relaxing melodies, stories, and guided meditation. Relax Melodies, for example, is a free app with over 100 calming sounds, including binaural beats and white noise. If you’re interested in relaxation exercises, try Headspace for guided meditations and The Breathing App for directed breathing regulation. Some apps like Sleep Cycle analyze your sleep cycles during the night and gently wake you up at the optimal time.
If your phone is struggling to keep up with your new sleep apps, it could be time for a tech upgrade. The new iPhone 11 may be a worthwhile investment, boasting 26 hours of battery life so it can reliably track your sleep all night long. If you’re not a fan of the iPhone, consider the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. This phone includes a night-mode feature with blue-light reduction to help prepare your eyes for sleep. Also, it will turn off certain functions to preserve battery life if you fall asleep while listening to your favorite relaxing songs or guided meditations.
Go Outside First Thing in the Morning
While light exposure in the evening can disrupt your sleep, getting outside first thing in the morning is a great way to reset your internal clock. According to Verywell Health, exposure to sunlight within an hour of waking up can help regulate your sleep-wake cycle so you can fall asleep more easily at night. Incorporate some outdoor time into your morning routine and see if it helps. Have breakfast on your balcony, or take a morning walk. Not only can this help improve your sleep quality, but it can also help you feel more energized in the mornings.
Exercise for 30 Minutes Every Day
Physical activity can have a significant effect on sleep quality. Just 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise may be enough to improve your sleep that very night, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. If you’re having trouble shutting off your mind at night, try engaging in exercise a couple of hours before bed. Exercise is great for relieving stress and may help you relax more easily in the evening. Night-time exercise will also cause your body temperature to drop, which can trigger your brain to start winding down for sleep.
Better sleep may not be as hard to achieve as it may seem. For many people, healthy sleep habits can make a huge difference in their quality of sleep. Before you seek the help of prescription sleep medications, try tackling your sleep problems at the source so you can enjoy long-term relief from insomnia.